Class action lawsuit filed against TTU over tuition for online learning

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A class action lawsuit has been filed by an Angelo State student, Peggy Brown, Tuesday against the Texas Tech University System.

The lawsuit is requesting tuition reimbursement for all students who had in-person, hands-on education for semesters affected by COVID-19 and had their courses moved to online learning.

The Texas Tech University System began moving to online courses beginning in the Spring of 2020.

The class action lawsuit states, “This is a class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who paid or will pay tuition to attend one of the Universities in the Tech System for an in-person, hands-on education for semesters affected by Covid-19 starting in the Spring 2020 semester, and had their course work moved to remote online learning. Such persons paid all or part of the tuition for the Spring 2020 semester and Summer 2020 semesters that ranged from approximately $8,720.00 to $11,600.00 per semester for an undergraduate resident student and $21,170.00 to $23,870 for undergraduate non-resident students, with similar rates for graduate students. Tuition includes the payment of mandatory fees.”

The lawsuit also says the Universities have not made any refunds of any portion of the tuition and mandatory fees.

“Because of the Regents response to the Covid-19 pandemic, by mid-March, the Universities ceased or severely limited any of the educational services or facilities tuition and Mandatory Fees were intended to cover.” The lawsuit continues, “As a result, the Universities unlawfully seized and are in possession of property (funds) of the Plaintiff and Class members in the form of paid tuition and Mandatory Fees.”

The Texas Tech University System released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“The Texas Tech University System, and its institutions, have and continue to prioritize the learning and educational resources throughout the coronavirus pandemic to meet our students’ needs. Despite unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, our university leaders worked to continue providing an exemplary education for students attending a university in our system. Through remote learning, continuous access to on-campus and virtual educational tools and resources, students remain the top priority for our administration, faculty and staff.”

In April 2020, Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec announced classes for the first summer session would be online, but with a 50% deduction in the student service fee and a cancellation of the online learning fee.

The lawsuit asks a Lubbock district court to demand a pro-rated refund for services not provided for any student who paid tuition and fees throughout the pandemic. It also cites an online petition demanding discounted tuition and fees for Fall 2020.

While the practice of sovereign immunity normally prevents suing government entities, Bryan’s Attorneys claim the system illegally took property from its students without just compensation, which would be a violation of the Texas and U. S. constitutions.

KCBD will provide additional details as more information is received.

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